So, I get asked this question all the time so here is a clarification of what a bar chair and a counter chair are?
Bar stools are a type of tall chair, often with a footrest to support the feet and generally speaking no backrest. But, a bar chair has a backrest and in some instances has arm rests .
The height and narrowness of bar stools make them suitable for use at bars and high tables in pubs or bars.
Since the 2010s, bar stools are more popular in homes, usually placed at the kitchen counter or at a home bar and they are available in varied styles. In addition, bar stools allow for a higher view when eating, drinking, or socialising.
There are many different types, construction materials, and models
Most manufacturers use wood or metal to make bar stools. There are bar stools with and without armrests, backs, and padding or upholstery on the seat surface. Bar stools can range from basic wooden designs to more complex ones with adjustable height. Extra tall and extra short are common features, as well as indoor bar stools and outdoor bar stools. Some bar stools have backs, while most do not. In commercial settings, swivel and floor mounted bar stools are common.
Floor mounting renders the stool immovable, so no one can steal it or use it as a weapon in a bar fight. You can generally mount loor-mounted stools on a column. But you can also secure stools with legs to the floor using metal brackets.
The normal seat height for a bar stool is 30″ (76 cm) with a 26″ (66 cm) stool. You can use this against kitchen counters. You can use extra tall 36″ (91 cm) stools in contemporary styles with high pub tables to create a visual effect in modern interiors.Counter height bar stools have a seat height of 24″ (61cm). By comparison, a conventional dining chair seat height is 18″ (46 cm). Some bar stools use polyurethane foam as padding for comfort.
You can use bar stools made from rattan or bamboo to create a tiki bar effect
The retro styling of the 1950 and 1960s is popular in some bars and restaurants,  which use chrome and vinyl stools combined with matching benches or diner chairs. Stacking stools are often favoured for their space-saving qualities. Some establishments use matching bar stools and chairs. Aluminium is often used outdoors. Commercial premises use stacking aluminium stools and patio chairs. Indoors, wood and upholstery are popular in traditional settings.
The use of bar stools in pool or billiard halls and the style of chair customised for such use is often called a “spectator chair”
In Ireland during weekends, followers of the English Premier League use bar stools. This is a practice which led to the creation of the pejorative term “barstoolers” by supporters of the League of Ireland. Furthermore, bar stools are a growth area in the consumer market and online purchasing is on the increase. Bar stools are custom made and customers can specify a wide range of fabrics and finishes as well as specify other options such as height and custom foot rests.
Both wooden and metal bar stools, including stainless and chrome styles and adjustable height features, are popular.
I have included a diagram so you can visualise the differences – the picture is in inches – 1 inch is equivilent to 2,54cm. i.e 29 inches will be 73,66cm – Dependant on who you are “arguing” (there is always an expert) with, the industry standard for a bar stool is between 74 to 76cm in South Africa. So have a beer and chill!
By Gary Da Silva
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